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Middle Class

July 28, 1988

Robert Samuelson's column "No Obits for the Middle Class, but Poor Fall Further Back" (Op-Ed Page, July 14) leave out one small but, to my mind, very significant fact. In the '70s families with both spouses working amounted to about 35% of the total. Now, in 1988, the number is over 50% and rising!

Samuelson's calculations and conclusions are based on the family as a numerical unit, that is to say, the family's income figure does not distinguish how many people it took to accomplish that family's income. To some, perhaps economists, this does not make any difference, but as a social phenomenon it has a profound effect we are just beginning to witness. The problems of latch-key children are but one example. Yes, the middle class as we once knew it is struggling to survive, but God help the working-spouse poor!

MARIUS E. JOHNSTON III

South Pasadena

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